Only in the United States would a body of politicians argue about budget cuts and waste 24 BILLION dollars doing so – that’s a whopping big hunk out of the economy even if the estimates by Standard and Poors are only half right. Only in the United States would congressmen argue about politics to within a couple of hours of default on its debt with the global economy hanging in the balance.
But that’s just politics.
Or maybe theatrics. (I have heard people argue both ways)
But that surely isn’t Illinois.
Illinois is the State with a world wide reputation – and it isn’t a good one. One of the ways I passed the time while waiting for the Congress to pass more than gas during the shut down was by discussing politics with some of my Australian aquaintances over a game of Minecraft. It came as no surprise that we are known as a state where four of the last seven governors where put in jail and, until just recently, the last two governors where in jail at the same time (although not in the same jail). While our last governor “cools his jets” (as grandma was wont to say) in a cell somewhere in LIttleton, Colorado the current state legislature made a reputation of its own.
This last summer, our current Governor, no doubt having had just about enough of Illinois politics, which all too often means inaction, suspended pay for state legislators until they took some action on pension reform. The state legislators where swift to take action – in a state that is all but broke, instead of actually doing their job they decided to sue their way back into their hardly earned…er…hard earned salaries.
“Legislators are more concerned about their pay then they are about resolving the pension crisis” – Governor Pat Quinn
Illinois politics has become a sideshow better than anything that Barnum and Bailey could have put together…right down to the clowns. But at least we can be thankful that we are now known for our politicians rather than our gangsters. In a newspaper column today,words by John Kass, one of my favorite columnists, and in my mind the spiritual successor to the late Mike Royko, lept out at me from his column:
“This is politics. We’re not playing My LIttle Pony. We’re not combing toy pony heair. We’re seing a state go under.” – John Kass, Chicago Tribune, Wednesday, October 23rd.